Local SEO is a branch of search engine optimization that focuses on optimizing a website, so it pops up in local search results. It’s of particular importance for brick-and-mortar stores in specific towns, cities, and states as it helps people searching online to find information about businesses, (literally) driving them closer to making a purchase.
How exactly? Well, if you’re on a road trip in a new city and are looking for Burger King, you’ll probably Google it, and a list of nearby Burger Kings will pop up on your search engine results pages (SERPs). This is essentially how local SEO for eCommerce works. So, as you can see, Local SEO is a vital component of internet marketing.
eCommerce Local SEO basics
What a patty is to a burger, SEO is to digital marketing and eCommerce stores. It is a multi-step process that entails optimizing your website to rank well on SERPs. This means using specific keywords (words and phrases) that users type into search engines within your website’s content so that when search engines crawl your website, they identify these words and categorize your website as one of importance because it contains answers to users’ queries.
If you want to know how to improve local SEO, you should start with the basics.
Ensure your eCommerce site and landing pages have meaningful and valuable content with relevant keywords to increase its SERP ranking.
Should you already have an eCommerce site, you may still need to do some tweaks on existing keywords to make them area-specific. For example, “bookstore in Second Avenue, New York” is better than “bookstore in New York.”
Pages with minimal backlinks, low social shares, low word counts, and organic search traffic searches should be updated. Identifying pages that need a face-lift saves time as it decreases the need to spend developing content while still improving eCommerce local SEO.
5 Cruccial Local SEO Strategies for ecommerce
Here are some local SEO step-by-step guidelines to help you optimize your eCommerce business for search queries made by your nearby target audience.
1. Complete Your Google My Business Page
Currently, you may find your business doesn’t show up for relevant searches in your area. A Google My Business profile improves website visibility in Google search results and Maps. These Local SEO results are based on relevance, distance, and prominence, and when combined, helps Google find the best match for user searchers.
Depending on these factors, a business further than yours may rank higher, as Google’s algorithms determine its relevance to searches. This is why it’s important to fill out your details as precisely as possible. For example, always link your website URL, list your hours accurately and respond to reviews to rank higher.
For fairness, it is impossible to request or pay for a better ranking on Google. You can’t just rely on updating your profile to improve your online standings. It has to form part of a comprehensive local SEO strategy that leverages the power of other directories.
2. Claim eCommerce Directories
A common local SEO strategy is to list your eCommerce business in strategic online directories. Unfortunately, most users bypass antiquated directories and go directly to Google. The direct benefits of being on a particular directory may not be many; however, they do increase SEO, especially if your store comes up through a directory result.
Directories also increase business credibility. Bing Places, Apple Maps, Yelp, and Trip Advisor still retain some clout. Not every directory is a perfect fit for every business, and choosing an ill-fitting one can damage local eCommerce SEO. The directories you choose should be relevant to your business rather than appear like a desperate attempt at online visibility. So, use with discretion and intent.
Google weighs heavily on backlinks, citations, and mentions because it demonstrates domain authority. Mentions in online news outlets, magazines, and press releases help build website credibility. When many sights link to the same webpage, search engines deduce they are worth listing on SERPs.
However, there are strict regulations to avoid unfair manipulation of a website’s ranking. Therefore, the best way to go about a local SEO strategy that does link building for eCommerce is to work on building business networks and relationships, so others mention you in their content.
Guest blogging and developing press kits to send to local news outlets are great ways to improve backlinks. Having your citations (name, phone number, and address) listed in relevant sites also increases your presence on Google in the same way that backlinks do.
4. Accumulate Reviews
Reviews build search engine credibility and increase target audience trust, which is incredibly beneficial for eCommerce local SEO. In fact, 72% of customers say they won’t buy a product before reading a review. The best way to get reviews on your Google local page or online store is to simply ask for them. Review requests can be integrated into customer emails or in-app once customers have made a purchase.
Customers are more likely to leave a review if this function is integrated into your buyer experience. WordPress has many review plugins offering this type of functionality. And, of course, reviews also provide constructive criticism for business improvement. They’re an opportunity to engage directly with customers and even create content around issues raised by customers, further boosting local SEO.
5. Focus Your Content on Your Locale
Keep locality in mind when devising your content marketing plan. If you’re focusing on local SEO or franchise SEO services for eCommerce, your content should also be locally orientated. Think about what queries customers in your specific area might rely on search engines to answer and create content based on those topics. If there are newsworthy or specific events related to your business, then try to develop content related to them. And, don’t forget to make it SEO-friendly.
Can I Start Several Local SEO Campaigns?
If you have multiple local locations, you should build separate landing pages and Google My Business Listings for each one. Since Google My Business listings are designed to help businesses rank in map results, creating a listing for each location makes sense.
Logistically, it’s best to use a centralized Google account and let the managers of each location handle their listing. Creating unique blog post content orientated around each location and generating backlinks to specific location landing pages will improve local SEO for eCommerce.
If you own multiple businesses that are not part of the same franchise, then it’s better to set up different accounts. This increases privacy between the two and minimizes the possibility of updating incorrect details.
The Benefits of Local SEO Tools
While having a strong local SEO strategy is a must, you’ll only appear in search engine results if you utilize the right tools.
Using local SEO software provides competitive data, helps track search engine rankings, monitors general performance, supports reputation management, and promotes customer engagement.
Most importantly, you can see where your Google Business Profile is falling short, and fix areas that prevent your business from reaching its true potential.
The 5 Best Local SEO Tools for Ecommerce
The best local SEO tools let you reach customers in your area whether you operate a storefront or provide services to a specific region. To help you boost your presence in relevant local search rankings, we’ve put together a list of the best local SEO tools. These will give you the best chance to improve your search results from local visitors.
As a local business owner, you know reviews, recommendations, and referrals are part of the lifeblood of your marketing efforts and a substantive part of local search engine optimization.
And if that’s not enough, 84% of customers say online reviews play a major role in their purchasing. Yet, with so many review sites out there, it can be extraordinarily time-consuming to keep track of them all.
That’s where Free Review Monitoring comes in. Used by The Wall Street Journal and MSNBC, this free SEO tool compiles reviews from every site, so you can monitor them all in one place.
Do you need a definitive road map to make sure you’re doing everything possible to optimize your business for local search? Local SEO Checklist is the perfect user-friendly tool to boost local SEO.
From optimizing your title tags to NAP details to structured data, and more, Local SEO Checklist will comprehensively walk you through the entire process.
If you follow each step methodically, you’ll experience a marked improvement in local search results. Local SEO checklist also provides a list of custom citation submission services for you to compare and price different service providers.
3. MOZ Local
This is possibly the most popular local SEO tool on our list. Among the many things this SEO tool can help you with; MOZ Local submits the most accurate business location data to all major aggregators and online listings, ensuring information is up-to-date and consistent across the web.
While you have to pay a small yearly fee to access all its features, it does offer a free online presence check to determine how accurately your company is listed on a variety of major websites and local business listings.
Signing up for a paid account provides you with the following features, among others:
- Instant Directory and Aggregator Submission
- Google My Business Sync
- Local Listings Dashboard
- Review Monitoring
- Review Management
4. SEO Scout
Structured data, which is a standardized format for providing contextual information about your page to Google, can be quite complicated. Thankfully, the schema generator and structured data tool SEO Scout eliminate the guesswork.
According to the software, you “can test your structured data for syntax and missing or incorrect properties.” SEO Scout scans your website’s HTML for schema in all the main formats—JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa Lite, which is then checked against Schema.org type and Google’s guidelines for rich snippets.
Answer The Public listens to autocomplete data from search engines like Google and then churns out suggestions in the form of a mind map. It offers a goldmine of consumer insight to help you create ultra-fresh content.
This software’s power lies in its ability to find long-tail keywords and compare the volume of searches for any word within a vast range of related terms. While Answer The Public isn’t the most comprehensive local SEO tool, it’s a good starting point for question queries that can be turned into blog posts and paid ads to attract local customers.
How to Use Analytics Tools to Improve Your Local SEO Strategy
Analytics tools streamline online advertising and use AI to help you improve your local SEO marketing efforts. Don’t overlook the following SEO software tools, which can help you identify new opportunities, so you can reach your target audience more effectively.
Google Analytics is a foundational SEO tool for good reason and essential to any meaningful local SEO effort. We could write an entire post detailing its merits, but in the context of local SEO, its Audience Reports feature is particularly useful.
Audience reports offer detailed insight into audience behavior, such as demographics, device use, life value, and interests. Together, these separate metrics give you a complete overview of who is visiting your website and how they’re interacting with your web pages.
What’s more, you can segment the “Device” category to compare conversion rates and engagement on mobile devices vs. desktops, which is pertinent for local SEO because more than 50% of local searches are performed on smartphones.
Geo Location Analytics
Towards the bottom of the Google Analytics Audience Reports, you can check geolocation data to see whether your local SEO efforts are directing the right traffic to your site. You can also access a location map that reveals where your visitors are coming from.
A Google My Business account is the only means by which you can claim ownership of your Business Profile and unlock additional free features to increase your visibility on Google Search and Maps—like personalizing your profile with photos, offers, and posts.
Google Maps and Google My Business optimization can generate more direct calls, leads, and sales. It allows you to appear in Maps and Google Local Pack listings. With Google My Business, you can improve your local search marketing, connect with customers, and increase your business revenue.
It’s impossible to launch a local SEO campaign without a profile, and the best part is that it’s free. If you want to dig a little deeper and acquire key information and feedback on how customers are connecting with your business you should purchase Social Pilot’s GMB analytics tool.
Whether it’s website clicks, calls, bookings, reviews, or follows, Social Pilot provides key insights to help you understand which part of your SEO strategy is working, and which areas need to improve. Social Pilot is easy to use and gives you a snapshot of useful local SEO data, such as whether your visitors found you on Google Search or Google Maps.
While Google Analytics is user-orientated, Google Search Console is search-engine focused, providing tools and insights to help you improve your local search presence in SERPs. You can easily monitor and resolve server errors, site load issues, and security issues like hacking and malware. In many ways, Google Search Console maintains your website’s health.
Its main value is making sure search engine bots can find and crawl your webpages without issue. By linking your Google Search Console account with your Google Analytics account, you’ll gain access to insights on geo-targeted keywords used on your website.
Additionally, you’ll also be able to see the most relevant keywords and their variants that Google finds when crawling your site. Essentially, Google Search Console gives you a glimpse into how search engines interpret your website via search results for targeted keywords.
SERP analysis is the process of exploring search engine results pages to discover what top ranking websites are doing to rank in prime positions (and what you can do to outrank them). There are many tools available to check this, including using actual SERP results.
For example, if you’re an appliance repair company, type in “Appliance Repair” in Google search, and you’ll see Google’s autosuggestions that are typically oriented toward local search results. You can then click on the top suggestions to see if your site ranks. If not, you’ve got some optimization work to do.
The purpose of competitor analysis is to understand other local businesses’ strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your own, in an effort to help you recognize how to enhance your local SEO strategy.
Once you’ve determined where your competitors rank in SERPs, you can use a free tool like SimilarWeb to analyze their traffic sources. Another tool called SpyFu is also useful to see what PPC and SEO strategies are working for your competitors.
In local SEO, businesses are all vying for the #1-3 positions in the Local Pack. You should analyze and compare the local businesses that rank in these positions, specifically their primary categories and reviews. Armed with this information, you’ll better understand which products and services your local business should focus on to optimize your local SEO.
Grow your ecommerce Business Localy with Comrade
Local SEO for eCommerce helps drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores through online leads. There are general best practices with off-page and on-page SEO for eCommerce, but there isn’t a cut-and-paste solution for every business. Incremental adjustments can be just as successful as a total website facelift. What’s more, slow and steady wins the race. While implementing robust eCommerce SEO services strategy takes time, the results are long-lasting.
Looking out for mistakes is also a crucial part of any local SEO campaign. Here you can read more about eCommerce SEO mistakes.
At Comrade Digital Marketing, our local SEO specialists can help you improve your local SEO strategy. As a full-service eCommerce digital agency, we’ll optimize your website to outperform your local competition. Find out more about eCommerce local SEO.